You need a consent permit from us to hand out leaflets and other literature in the city centre. We will give you a badge that shows you are entitled to distribute literature.
What you can distribute
You can distribute anything we consider free literature, which includes:
- leaflets, pamphlets or cards advertising your business
- free Newspapers
- takeaway menus and other promotional material
Handing out products or samples
You can't use this consent to hand out products or samples or use a static space for equipment etc. A permit can be obtained separately for this type of activity. Contact us for further information.
Where you can distribute
Once you have received consent you can distribute on Council owned land anywhere within the city centre boundary.
Who can apply for consent
You can apply if your business or organisation wants to distribute information within the city centre boundary.
Who doesn't need to apply
If you are handing out literature for a charity (within the meaning of the Charities Act 1993) or where the distribution is for a political or religious purpose you do not need our consent. The distribution of free literature through a letter box or vehicle is also excluded from the scheme. Charities leaflets must display their charity number.
How long a consent permit will last
You can apply for a consent that lasts for a year or for 30 days.
When you have your permit we will issue you with a consent badge which you need to have on your while you hand out leaflets. A replacement charge of £40 is made for consent badges which are lost or stolen. Contact us in this case.
Consents can be used by more than one person provided that they are not working at the same time.
You can apply for as many permits as you need. The cost will increase for each additional permit.
A first annual permit costs £81. To add a second permit costs a further £109, meaning the cost for two permits would be £190. To add a third permit costs £163, so the cost for three permits would be £353.
It will cost another £192 to add a fourth permit or any additional permit after this it.
Type of Permit
Fee (Tax exempt)
Monthly consent permit
1st annual consent permit
2nd annual consent permit
3rd annual consent permit
Any further additional consent permits
Replacement for a lost consent permit
What you need to provide with your application
You will need to send us:
- a completed application form
- a copy of the leaflet you want distribute
Consent permit conditions
All consents are subject to the following conditions. They may also be subject to specific conditions based upon the application details.
The consent holder is fully responsible for the safety of the distributors while distributing materials or removing litter.
- All staff engaged in the distribution of free literature must wear an authorisation badge using a highly visible lanyard issued by us, bearing the number of the authorisation badge and showing the name and contact telephone number of the consent holder.
- The badge shall be produced on demand to an authorised officer of the Council or other relevant agency.
- Authorisation badges are not interchangeable/transferable between consent holders and all distributors using them must be directly employed by the consent holder.
- The consent holder must maintain, and make available for inspection upon request, a log/database of the name and addresses of all distributors used, together with their date of birth and National Insurance numbers. The log shall record where and when the distributors were operating, materials being offered and the authorisation badge being used.
- Applicants must apply from a Sheffield based address, or provide a statement detailing how they propose to ensure that there is local management and accountability to prevent litter occurring as a result of the free distribution of printed matter and to remove any resultant litter.
- No free printed matter shall be left unattended by staff for the general public to take at their discretion.
- All places in which free printed matter is being distributed must be kept free of discarded matter so that the area does not fall below Grade B of the Government's "Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse" at any time. If an authorised officer of the Council considers that the standard has been breached as a consequence of the distribution of free printed matter, his/her assessment will be definitive at the time.
- If an authorised officer requests the consented staff to pick up discarded printed matter, the staff member shall do so immediately. The distributor will stop distribution until the materials on pedestrian areas have been removed and the area restored to Grade A within the hour and materials on trafficked roads restored to Grade A within 6 hours.
- Free printed matter includes self-adhesive promotional material.
- The consent permit and free printed matter must bear the contact details of the company/brand or venue or event that is being promoted.
- Applications for annual consents must be made 7 days before the period of distribution. We must approve a sample of the literature to be distributed before consent is issued. This decision will be final.
- Consents will be subject to the payment of a fee to be paid at the time of the application.
- No free printed matter shall be placed on parked vehicles, attached to parked vehicles or fixed to parked vehicles.
- No free printed matter, which clearly encourages irresponsible gambling and/or consumption of alcohol, can be issued. This includes irresponsible drinks promotions (such as all-inclusive drinks offers when paying for entry or drink all you can for a fixed amount), which will not be allowed. Responsible promotions for alcohol or gambling must carry the Drink Aware / Be Gamble Aware messages.
- A copy of the leaflet may be requested, which can be sent by email.
- Free printed matter being distributed by charitable organisations must show the charity number.
- We reserve the right to instruct an authorised badge holder to move to an alternative location at any time.
- It is the authorised badge holder's responsibility to ensure areas are free to use prior to arrival on site (ie civic events, civil works, deliveries, etc.).
- Fraudulent use of badges will result in the organisation concerned being banned from the scheme
- Expired badges can be either returned when applying for a new consent period or destroyed by the holder.
Anyone who distributes free printed matter without our consent may be committing an offence and could be liable on a fine up to £2,500. An offence is committed if someone causes another person to distribute free printed matter in a designated area without consent. The person commissioning the actual distributor therefore also commits an offence. Authorised Enforcement officers may offer the person distributing the literature the opportunity to discharge the liability to conviction for the offence by paying a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100.
What happens once you have made an application
Once you have submitted your application, an officer will review the details of your request and then confirm whether your application will be approved. We will aim to do this within 15 working days.
If we approve your application you will then need to make payment as soon as possible.
Once we receive payment, we will issue you with a permit by either:
- 2nd class post
- collection from the Customer Service Desk at the Moor Market
Tacit consent will not apply
This means it is in the public interest that we process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within 15 working days you should contact us.
Apply for a leaflet distribution consent permit
You can download and print the application form and send it to us by post or email. If you need to make any changes to your current consent you will need to make a new application.
We will usually process your application in 5 working days.
Once we have approved your application we will get in touch to arrange payment before we send your consent badges.
How to make an appeal or a complaint
You should contact us if you want to appeal our decision or make a complaint.
Members of the public who are experiencing problems with distribution of leaflets should contact us for advice.